Monday, August 15, 2011

Publicists in the New Digital Age

by Clare Langley-Hawthorne

As I am still virtually 'in communicado' after my father's knee replacement surgery (still on 'duty' helping my folks out before I fly back to Australia tomorrow), I haven't got any meaty blog post for today. I do, however, have a question about publicity in the new 'digital age' of publishing. I was musing over it just this morning, wondering whether the traditional 'publicist' is, in many ways, redundant for authors now. With the ever increasing use of online and social media for book publicity, I have to wonder how much value an independent publicist can offer these days.

So what do you think? Would you bother to hire a publicist if you had a book coming out now and, if so, what would you expect them to do for you?

PS: Thank you all for your good wishes. My Dad is doing great!


  1. Clare, glad to hear about your dad. Good news.

    Re: Publicists. I've always been a bit wary of hiring this out. I'm not sure the ROI is worth it. There are now social media experts who design a whole media presence for you, complete with branding websites and strategies for interactions and so on. That might have some value for the novice.

    But if you are intentional about it and do a little learning, I think you can pretty much get the same results on your own. My advice on that is here. and it's worked for me.

  2. I have to view things like this from the simplicity of finances. We all know most authors have to keep at their day job while writing. I do. I also know when the time comes it's going to be up to me to pay someone to edit, design the cover, blah blah blah.

    But the reality is, unless you have a high paying day job, some things simply aren't an option--like a publicist. It does seem sort of redundant to me. If an author now has to do their own marketing (and who of us isn't scouring the net for blogs like this on marketing tips, etc--time we'd rather spend writing), trying to come up with the money for a publicist on top of that doesn't make much sense unless financially you can (or you've got a publisher who is providing it for you).

    BK Jackson

  3. It's hard to justify the expense isn't it? These days I suspect most of what is needed you can (and probably should) do yourself to keep a personal touch with your readers.

  4. Clare---I can't afford a brick/mortar publicist. I have, however, been using on-line publicists. (Even though I paid for a "push" site that sends one post to other targeted sites. Mind you, this is not a 'site farm' or 'bad neighborhood' kind of deal that generates spam. Those are a no-no!)

    I've used three on-line publicists in as many months because they get more hits on their various sites than I do, alone. And, goodness gracious, they can be so very inexpensive. It's like paying for a good meal. For me, it's worth the risk of paying say, $39 for one service, or $150 for another to give my book a chance to go viral.

    I may be niave, but I can't afford a real life publicist at this point. So, I think the digital alternatives are a good idea. Just my humble opinion. I'll let you know if my sales increased when the month is over.

    Glad you Dad is feeling better. Give him a big hug for me, just because you can. My Dad earned his wings years ago. I miss him still. Sigh . . .

  5. I hired a professional publicist for my second book, SEAsoned: A Chef's Journey with Her Captain and loved the results.

    Maryglenn McCombs worked on my book for 10 hours and garnered far more reviews and articles than I had been able to with doing my own publicity for book one. One article in Miami Herald actually went national and was syndicated everywhere. I could not have made that happen on my own.

    She was a dream to work with and got proven sales. Not only did sales of the book she pushed happen but the first book took off again as well. The sales of the two books combined covered her fee.

    I blogged about my experience with Maryglenn at

    I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for a publicist.

    Victoria Allman

  6. I do it all on my own. I've found there are already enough expenses that come with writing.

    promotion is tons of work though, that's for sure.